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Toro Gold reports 2018 production results for its Mako gold mine

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

Toro Gold (Toro Gold) has reported the unaudited results at its 90% owned Mako gold mine (Mako) in Eastern Senegal for the 12 months ending 31 December 2018. 


Martin Horgan, CEO, commented: “I am delighted to report on an excellent first year of operations at the Mako gold mine. Following a successful commissioning the mine has consistently delivered into and beaten its operational targets while retaining a focus on safety. 


We continue to meet our environmental and social commitments and are working in close collaboration with local communities – we are delighted to note that some 90% of the workforce are Senegalese, and over 60% are from the local Kedougou region. In parallel with our social programmes, conservation work in respect of the Niokola-Koba National Park has progressed well in conjunction with our partners at the Senegalese National Parks Department and NGO Panthera.


During the second half of 2018, the exploration team focused on investigating the potential for mine life extensions beneath the current pit with an extensive core drilling campaign. Analysis of the results is underway and we look forward to providing an update during 1Q19 on the potential impacts on both the mine resources and reserves.  


I would like to add my thanks to all our stakeholders who have contributed to this successful first year – from our partners in the Government of Senegal, to local communities, our commercial partners and our operational teams at the mine. We are well set for 2019 and look forward to another successful year for the company.”


Operational review

2018 generated a good to excellent performance with the Mako gold mine consistently meeting or beating DFS expectations.


Mining contractor African Mining Services Senegal (AMSS) met budget and exceeded expectations for material moved during the year. A total of 13.6 million t of waste was mined over the period, with some 2.7 million t of ore at an average RoM grade of 2.38g/t. Au. 2019 will see the commencement of the stage 6 final cut back with a commensurate increase in stripping compared to 2018. With an established fleet and work force, no issues are anticipated for meeting the production targets for 2019 which are forecast to be between 135-145 000 oz of gold produced at an AISC of between US$820 - 860/oz.


The process facility performed well, treating a total of 1.8 million tonnes at a head grade of 2.94 g/t Au over the period against a budget of 1.7 million t at 2.77 g/t Au. While significant pre-development studies focused on the hard and abrasive nature of the ore and its implications for the comminution circuit, performance over the period was favourable to budget with better than planned wear liner life and a reduction in total power used. Process recoveries also performed well with higher metallurgical recoveries in excess of 95% achieved against the budgeted recoveries of 91.8%.


An operational optimisation study is underway to assess the ability to further enhance the mine performance. It will include a review of the mining plan, the mill throughput capacity and operating cost control. This work is anticipated to be completed during 1Q19. 


The better than forecast head grades and metallurgical recoveries resulted in production for the year of 156 926 oz of gold, some 17% above the forecast of 134 294 oz. This increased production, in turn flowed through into improved operating unit costs with draft All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) for the year reported as US$685/oz against a budget of US$798/oz.


In terms of safety, the mine achieved an LTIFR of 1.47 (a total of 3 LTIs during the year) which is above our target of zero but still sits well below the Australian gold industry average of 2.1 per million hours worked. A programme of continuous training and improvements is being rolled out to try and achieve a zero target for the LTIFR.


Social and environmental performance

Over 2018, the company continued to deliver into its commitments in respect of both the social and environmental aspects of the Mako gold mine with no significant issues encountered during the period. A detailed Sustainability Report is due for release in 2Q19 outlining local stakeholder engagement and conservation activities in more detail, and in the interim more information can be found at the company’s website.



Presidential inauguration

On 17 November 2018, His Excellency Macky Sall, President of Senegal officially inaugurated the Mako gold mine. The ceremony which was attended by the Mining and Environment ministers, the British Ambassador, the Mayor of the host Commune of Tomboronkoto and a number of local and regional government stakeholders was testimony to the excellent relations we have fostered with our stakeholders in Senegal over many years.



As detailed in the news release of 12 September 2018, a 15 000 m core drilling programme was completed during the year which targeted mineralisation beneath the current pit to investigate the potential to extend the open pit life through exploration of the main mineralised lode beneath the current final pit design.

Results from this drilling campaign are under review and the company expects to provide an updated Mineral Resource Estimate and Life of Mine operating plan (and associated reserve statement) during 1Q19.

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